GTAT inks $336 million solar deal

Agreement is for a production plant in Malaysia

GT Advanced Technologies has signed an agreement to supply $336 million in equipment and technology for a Malaysian facility to manufacture polysilicon for the production of solar cells – a deal backed with money from Saudi Arabia – the company announced Tuesday.

The deal – which is subject to financing – would exceed the Merrimack-based company’s entire $299 million in revenue earned in 2013, though the release did not specify when the deal would be completed or the revenue recognized.

A spokesman for GTAT said the company’s Missoula, Mont., facility would service the order, not its New Hampshire facility.

The agreement calls for GTAT to provide equipment and technology and Kuala Lumpur-based Cosmos Chemical Berhad to provide equipment and technology for the polysilicon facility. The project would be sponsored by Saudi Arabia-based Project Management & Development Company.

GTAT’s agreement includes engineering services, the reactors, filament production and polysilicon processing.

GTAT, which went public in 2008 as GT Solar Technologies, has been moving away from reliance on the solar industry, concentrating on producing equipment to create sapphire equipment for the LED industry.

It recently entered into a deal with Apple Inc. to produce sapphire for more durable screens for mobile devices.

But GTAT has always maintained that the solar industry will bounce back and has positioned itself to produce more efficient materials to take advantage of the rebound. The Malaysia facility would use new technology that enables production of the materials using less energy, the company said.

"The polysilicon market is improving, with spot prices on the rise and supply and demand coming into balance,” said Dave Keck, executive vice president of GTAT's solar business. “This is a good time to begin construction of a new plant so that it comes online timed to rising prices.”

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